Thanks + Giving.

Thanks + Giving. | cafecarlson.com

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite.

It hasn’t always been. When I was younger, I was all about Christmas- the shopping and wrapping and decorating and cooking. And then one year, (about 3 years into being a parent, if I’m really honest)- I realized how wonderfully freeing and lovely Thanksgiving was.

It was a day of simply being together. Cooking together, playing games, always watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, and giving thanks. The biggest worry of the day was trying to time all the food correctly so everything would be served and hot at the same time. Ha!

This year we are having a non-traditional Thanksgiving. The kids have a school break and we are exploring Amsterdam for a few days. No turkey or Macy’s parade. But that’s ok. Because even more than Thanksgiving, I love exploring. It’s always fun to go somewhere new- tasting and seeing and smelling and feeling all the feels of a new city.

And then, oh my word- next week brings December! So many things to looks forward to- my sweet hubby’s birthday, many guests,  and GIVING TUESDAY!

Have you heard of it? The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is set aside to celebrate & officially kick off the season of giving. I love this SO much! We have so much to be thankful for- and then we can continue our season of gratitude with a season of GIVING BACK!

There are so many very wonderful ways to give back- and this year I am thrilled to be able to share a cause that is new to me but has become dear to my heart.

PEF Students

The Power of Education Foundation.

Every child deserves an education.  Whether a child is learning to read and write or learning to how to take an active role in their community, the lessons they learn will shape their view of the world and how they live their life.

- The Power of Education Foundation

My friend Trillium is deeply involved in this school she co-founded in Haiti. I love to hear her tell stories about the kids, the teachers and the lives that are being changed. I knew immediately that this is something I wanted to be a part of.

The foundation is 100% run by volunteers who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of these children, and their community.

This #GivingTuesday, I’d love it if you’d join me in supporting The Power of Education Foundation. I am happy to give you more information and answer questions if you are interested!

Happy Thanksgiving friends! I hope you are cozy and surrounded by love wherever you are. I am ever thankful to you for being here.

I love to hear from you and have loved sharing life with you this year!

<3 H

#GivingTuesday

Salone del Gusto, a feast for the senses.

Salone del Gusto | Cafecarlson.com

“Slow Food reminds us of the importance of knowing where our food comes from. When we understand the connection between the food on our table and the field where it grows, our everyday meals can anchor us to nature and the place where we live.”

– Alice Waters, chef, author, food movement pioneer, and Vice President of Slow Food International

A few weeks ago, my friend and I hopped on a train bound for Torino to attend the world’s largest food and wine fair, Salone del Gusto and Terre Madre. I have been dreaming of going for several years, and since we are living in Milan- it was the perfect opportunity to go and experience what I had only read about until now.

Salone del Gusto and Terre Madre is held every two years in Torino, Italy. The Slow Food community comes together during this time- showcasing farmers, chefs, artisans, educators and their foods from more than 130 countries around the world.

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Cleaning out the cobwebs. {and the fridge}

Cleaning out the Cobwebs | Cafecarlson.com

I wake up early, the iPhone alarm softly singing to me, easing me into the day.

It takes me a full minute to remember what day of the week it is. The cobwebs lay thick and heavy in my brain.

I am not a morning person. Never have been. I’d be happy if no one would talk to me for at least an hour actually, as my previous roommates and husband of nearly 22 years will tell you.

I let the dogs out, wake up the kids, make myself an espresso, (always a double) then sit down at the kitchen table and think through my day.

Then I begin making a to-do list in my favorite polka dotted notebook from my trip home this summer.

My brain starts waking up, untangling itself and then spirals out of control. Like a rabbit hole, I start with one thought that leads to a hundred more.

Is this normal? Is it me, getting old? Losing my ability to focus? Or is it just life?

I’m not shocked anymore at the events that happen around me. I’ve learned to drive more aggressively, to hold my own in the grocery line or at the airport.

I love listening to my Italian neighbors chatter in the alley as I wash dishes at the sink.

I zip into and around the hundreds of round-a-bouts without thinking twice, breaking a sweat or getting dizzy.

I still laugh out loud, but am used to having zero personal space at the grocery store, on the sidewalk, in a café.

I’m even used to seeing grown Italian men peeing by the side of the road almost every single day.

But after living here almost a year and a half, I’m still surprised at the amount of thought every single daily chore takes. I wonder how the Italians do it?

Do their brains hurt at the end of the day from all the extra brain power that must be used to get through the day? Probably not, they are used to how things run (or don’t run) here. It’s part of their DNA, I’m pretty sure.

My DNA is so different. I’m American through and through, but I long to be Italian. I have a love affair with Italy and will never be the same after living here. But my head still swims in the details of living life in bella Italia!

My thoughts go something like this…

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